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October 16, 2018

Teenreads and New York Comic Con 2018: Part 1, Overview

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Teenreads kicked off October in one of the best ways imaginable: heading to New York Comic Con, a celebration of all things bookish, nerdy and just plain awesome. Between editorial manager Rebecca Munro, interns Dana and Ana, reviewers Katherine and Matthew, and Teenreader Joe, we had a full team covering the panels, showroom floor and the whole atmosphere of the weekend. Read below for a quick overview of everyone's NYCC experience or click here for more in-depth coverage of the panels we all attended.


Question: How many times have you been to NYCC?

Ana Couto: This was my first time at NYCC!

Dana Cuadrado: This is my fourth time at NYCC!

Joe Dubyuh: This was my first official NYCC, though I have been to many other cons over the last 30 years.

Katherine Szabo: I’ve lost count...I’m going to say this is my sixth NYCC.

Matthew Burbridge: This is my 8th time!

Rebecca Munro: This was my fourth time in four years!

Q: What panel or event were you looking forward to the most?

Ana Couto: I was most looking forward to the “Tor Presents: #FearlessWomen” panel, which highlighted some awesome female authors in the Sci-fi and Fantasy genres (like V.E. Schwab!), and I was also super excited about attending the “Outlander” panel.

Dana Cuadrado: I was very excited for the “What's So Great About YA? A Fierce Reads Panel” which included all of the authors that were on the Fierce Reads Tour (Tomi Adeyemi, Alex London, Marissa Meyer, April G. Tucholke, and Ngozi Ukazu) as well as the A Discovery of Witches screening and Q&A and the Outlander screening and panel.

Joe Dubyuh: Although I was not able to attend personally due to scheduling, I was hoping to catch Neil DeGrasse Tyson being a big fan of science.  It’s easy to think of him as a real life superhero fighting the good fight against the anti-science movement.

Katherine Szabo: I was really looking forward to the “TARDIS Time” Doctor Who panel with David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Alex Kingston! And of course all of the book-related panels, particularly the “Tor Presents: #FearlessWomen” panel.

Matthew Burbridge: The Star Wars publishing panel to see if they did a Master and Apprentice cover reveal (which they did!) and the comiXology panels because I love their programs and my friends were on and running the panels!

Rebecca Munro: I was most excited for the #OwnVoices Worlds: How Writers Build Authenticity Into Their Diverse Worlds and A Discovery of Witches panels. At the #OwnVoices panel, I was pumped to see Tochi Onyebuchi and Marlon James together, and for A Discovery of Witches, it was my first television/movie-related panel, ever!! I was also really excited for the Junta-position the Politics of Modern Speculative Fiction panel, because I wanted to see Neal Shusterman and his son, Jarrod, who were there promoting their first co-written book, DRY. Of course, the What's So Great About YA? A Fierce Reads Panel should go without saying, because TOMI ADEYEMI.

Q: What were your favorite panels? You can name up to three.

Ana Couto: One of my favorites was the “Tor Presents: #FearlessWomen” panel. All the authors shared incredible insight into really prominent topics, such as gender bending, diversity, and masculinity vs. femininity. I also really enjoyed the “Revisiting History” panel because I’m a big history nerd, and it was interesting to hear how different authors go about conducting historical research and incorporate it into their novels.

Dana Cuadrado: I loved the “What's So Great About YA? A Fierce Reads Panel” because all of the authors were so funny and really made me interested in all of their books. “Disney Publishing Presents: Let’s Talk YA” was another favorite because it was moderated by Alexandra Bracken, author of The Darkest Minds series, who was able to ask more writer-driven questions. Lastly, “Women in [Everything]: Intersectional Feminism Across Genres” was fantastic in that the panel featured women of diverse backgrounds and different genres and they were able to share their thoughts on publishing, politics, and how the two fit together.

Joe Dubyuh: Having been raised by a self-proclaimed witch of a mom, it seemed only fitting to attend the “Pop Culture Witches” panel on Saturday.  Although not my typical genre of books and writers, it was interesting to listen to Ben Blacker ask questions of authors/editors Jill Thompson, Heather Antos, Zoe Quinn, and actress Valorie Curry.  Together, they did a great job explaining the connections with their professions and their personal life witchery.

Katherine Szabo: I think my favorite was the “Tor Presents: #FearlessWomen” panel, even though I have not actually read any of these authors --- I know, I know. Shame on me. I also loved the LGBTQ+ Kids Graphic Novel panel featuring creators like Brooklyn Allen, Ethan Alderidge, and Mariko Tamaki.

Matthew Burbridge: Well the comiXology panels for sure. I am biased because I work there, but the programs they ran were educational and informative regarding self-promotion of creator-owned work, which I love. It was in one of the smaller auditoriums which made it easier to hear, more formal, and everybody in the audience looked like they came away with information they needed.

Rebecca Munro: In terms of book-related panels, my favorite panels were definitely the What's So Great About YA? A Fierce Reads Panel, the #OwnVoices Worlds: How Writers Build Authenticity Into Their Diverse Worlds, and the Futurecasting panel. What I loved about each one was the chemistry between the authors --- not just what they were talking about. That said, I did love that each panel touched on what is happening today in society, and not just craft/fictional worlds. Even when the authors were discussing works of science fiction and fantasy, they always found a real-world connection, to both themselves and society that made their answers pop.

Q: What was the best costume you saw? You can name up to three, and it could be your own!

Ana Couto: I saw a girl dressed up as Hermione Granger. She did such a great job with her costume that I literally thought it was Emma Watson at first.

Dana Cuadrado: I saw a man dressed up as Severus Snape and he had fully mastered the character’s signature scowl.

Joe Dubyuh: My favorite was a classic Swamp Thing who did an amazing job with at least an extra fifty pounds of flora which appeared to be the new look from the Alan Moore version of the character.  My second favorite was a man dressed as a shadow (all black bodysuit) laying on the ground behind some unsuspecting man in front of the exit of Javitz.

Katherine Szabo: I saw some really great Black Panther cosplay. I always love seeing how creative everyone can get.

Matthew Burbridge: Prince Noctis and Prompto from Final Fantasy 15

Rebecca Munro: This wasn’t exactly the best costumes, but I saw four Spider-Mans (Men?) get into a dance-off competition and it was amazing.

Q: What was your best unexpected encounter with an author or fan?

Ana Couto: I’m a big fan of the animated show “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, so when I attended the “Super Asian America” panel and they announced that Netflix was adapting it as a live-action series (how had I missed this???), I got to geek out with the person sitting next to me, who also apparently hadn’t heard the news. Nothing like a bit of fangirling to bring people together!

Dana Cuadrado: I had the chance to meet Christine Lynn Herman, debut author of the upcoming THE DEVOURING GRAY, who was so nice. This book sounds like the creepy paranormal book I have been craving about a small town that makes a pact with a demon for powers. I told her how much it reminds me of one of my favorite shows “The Vampire Diaries” and we got to fangirl about our love paranormal small towns,

Joe Dubyuh: Though I spoke with quite a few artists, I probably had a great conversation with artist Keith Brooks who is working on the covers for the new Conan.  I’m a big fan of his, and he was nice enough to sign two covers of some Marvel books for me.

Katherine Szabo: I’m not big on talking to people because I’m a cranky hermit, but I did have some great conversations with some artists in the artist alley about the shows and video games we love.

Rebecca Munro: This was not exactly unexpected, because I planned it, but I was able to grab an ARC of Marlon James’s new book, AND get him to sign it with “Happy birthday Matt” for my boyfriend whose birthday it was that weekend. I love when authors are so accommodating and eager to make a fan’s day. What was unexpected was running into authors like Dhonielle Clayton and Kass Morgan, who I was going to be moderating the following weekend --- it was great to get the initial meeting out of the way at such a fun event!

Q: And, of course, the books! Tell us some of the books that you came away wanting to read. You can name up to three.

Ana Couto: I got a copy of the graphic adaptation of ANNE FRANK’S DIARY, and the illustrations look absolutely beautiful. And after hearing V.E. Schwab speak at the “Tor Presents: #FearlessWomen” panel, I’m feeling a serious need to go pick up VICIOUS so I can read VENGEFUL, the sequel.

Dana Cuadrado: Three books that I picked up at NYCC that I can’t wait to dive into are THE DEVOURING GRAY, THE CERULEAN, and CROWN OF FEATHERS.   

Joe Dubyuh: I believe I am going to be picking up The Heartstone Saga books by Elle K. White, and Outlander which was referenced quite a bit in the panels I attended.

Katherine Szabo: As soon as I left the “LGBTQ+ Kids Graphic Novel” panel, I came away wanting to read ALL of the books they discussed, but I picked up ESTRANGED by Ethan Alderidge and have been loving it. And I saw this every year, but this is going to be the year when I finally dive into the works of V.E. Schwab --- I’ve seen her speak so many times and still have not read any of her work even though I know I would love it!

Matthew Burbridge: Rebecca and Dana were able to acquire a signed copy of Marlon James’s new book BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF. I’m ecstatic.

Rebecca Munro: The book I want to read most of all after NYCC is FOUR DEAD QUEENS by Astrid Scholte. This book was getting tons of buzz at BookExpo/BookCon, but since it was not releasing until February, I did not pay close enough attention. Since I knew that she would be at NYCC, I made sure I saw her and OMG, her book sounds amazing! It is currently at the top of my TBR.

Q: What’s your best memory of this weekend?

Ana Couto: Since I was new to NYCC, I’d say my best memory was simply getting to see all the amazingly creative costumes that people came up with.

Dana Cuadrado: My favorite memory of the weekend was with our very own Rebecca Munro as we practically ran to the Javits in order to see the A Discovery of Witches panel. We were exhausted, hungry, and I almost lost a shoe but it was so worth it!

Joe Dubyuh: Generally running around with a few cameras and clicking away all weekend.

Matthew Burbridge: Catching up with Michael Moreci, author of BLACK STAR RENEGADES and the upcoming WE ARE MAYHEM.

Rebecca Munro: My best memory is the same as Dana’s --- I had never attended a television/movie panel and I LOVE the All Souls Trilogy, so this was just an amazing way to spend a Friday night. In terms of more bookish, YA events, I always love seeing authors Tochi Onyebuchi and Michael Moreci and catching up with them. They’re both such amazing guys and they always serve as great reminders of why I wanted to join the publishing industry. And, since they both have sequels coming out, it was great to ask for some sneak peeks of their new books!

Q: What’s the best non-bookish thing you saw or did?

Ana Couto: The best non-bookish thing I did was attend the “Outlander” panel on Saturday, in which I got the chance to see the first episode of the upcoming season! I’ve read all the books that this TV series is based on, so I was hardcore geeking out at getting to see the actors in real life.

Dana Cuadrado: I spent my Saturday at NYCC seeing several different panels for TV shows that I love or am excited to see. I was able to see the first episodes of “Legacies,” “Roswell, New Mexico,” “Outlander,” and “The Walking Dead.” It is interesting that all four of these shows have either book or comic origins!

Joe Dubyuh: Though I was looking forward to aimlessly wandering the show floor, meeting many of the artists in Artist Alley and listening to the four panels I attended, really made it all more personal in general.

Katherine Szabo: Definitely the “TARDIS Time” Doctor Who panel! It was extremely weird, but it was great seeing all of the amazing actors from one of my favorite shows in one place. Oh, and also going to the Outlander cabin and claiming my new favorite tote bag, of course.

Matthew Burbridge: Artist Alley is always my favorite place to be. I get to see friends, buy unnecessary amounts of art I’ll never get fit on any wall all at once, and I get to network with editorial and writers I normally wouldn’t get a word in with.

Rebecca Munro: I loved participating in the “Outlander” and “American Gods” walk-throughs that were organized outside. Both were set up to look like actual sets from the shows and they gave away great swag. I had never done anything television/movie related at NYCC before, but I definitely will make this a priority again next year!

Q: Do you have any advice for future NYCC-goers?

Ana Couto: My advice would be to wear comfortable shoes, bring lots of snacks, and to note down some the events you want to attend beforehand! There are many cool things going on, but it’s nice to have a tentative schedule so you can feel a bit more organized.

Dana Cuadrado: I always have the same advice for any big convention and that is to find all of the panels, signings, and giveaways that you want to do and make a spreadsheet. It is so easy to walk aimlessly around the convention with no plan and literally do none of the things you wanted. Secondly (more NYCC specific), if you want to go to a panel at either MSG or Hammerstein Ballroom GO! These venues usually have bigger panels that draw more attention. I was always too lazy to walk to the venues, feared I would miss out on the happenings at the Javits or that I would wait forever and never get a seat. But I attended three of the biggest panels at MSG and never waited on a line.

Joe Dubyuh: No matter who you are or whether you cosplay or not, wear comfortable shoes.  Though I still don’t think I saw more than 50% of the entire floor, I still did an enormous amount of walking and my feet were killing me by Sunday night.  Commuting to and from Jersey was a bit more than I had hoped, so planning ahead more and staying in NYC might be a good idea for next time and save some miles on the feets.

Katherine Szabo: Bring your own food! Also, make sure you download the NYCC app so you can easily keep track of all of the things you want to do! Be prepared to wait in line...so many lines.

Matthew Burbridge: Don’t try to see everything. There is enough to see and do that a full plan isn’t entirely necessary. If there’s something you really want, make sure you’re there for whatever it is. But don’t make “everything” the goal.

Rebecca Munro: This year I went in with both a FULL schedule and a targeted one. The full one had everything I wanted to see, but I couldn’t possibly do everything. The targeted one had things I absolutely 100% HAD to see. Doing my schedule this way took a lot of pressure off and still allowed for last minute plan changes. Also, COMFY SHOES! And please, be kind to yourself and drink lots of water, even if you’re just standing around all day.

Q: Any additional thoughts?

Joe Dubyuh: It was a great weekend!

Katherine Szabo: I was only able to go for two days this year but I’m glad I braved the crowds --- there was a lot of great stuff to see!

Matthew Burbridge: Look up any events that could be happening around the city after the show hours too. A lot of places post special deals and shows all over if you look it up online close to the event days. You could have your evenings after being all day at the Javits planned too.

Rebecca Munro: DRINK WATER!